Home Blog Posts TV Connection: Syfy’s Face Off

TV Connection: Syfy’s Face Off


TV Connection: Syfy’s Face Off – by guest writer Relda Viviers

Face Off is a competition/elimination series where special effects make-up artist participate in elaborate challenges for a grand prize of 100 000 US dollars and the honour of being Hollywood’s next great effects artist.  The series is currently in its 8th season. The competition consists of 2 parts – The Foundation Challenge and the Spotlight Challenge.

The Foundation challenge:

During this challenge – which is an individual challenge – the artists are required to do a make-up or make-under where they have to incorporate elements like flowers, beards etc. The foundation challenges have a time limit of 2 hours. There are normally about 4 foundation challenges during a season.

The foundation challenges are judged by either one of the series judges or a guest judge. The winner of the foundation challenge receives immunity and cannot be voted off during the next Spotlight challenge.

The Spotlight Challenge:

The spotlight challenge can either be an individual challenge or a team challenge. When it is a team challenge the contestants are either randomly chosen by the producers of Face Off or the contestants chose their own partners. During the spotlight challenge the contestants are required to create a creature specific to a theme, for example a fear of something, a villain, or even an animal/human hybrid. The contestants have 3 days to complete the challenge. During the 2nd day of the challenge the series mentor – Michael Westmore – will visit each of the contestants to give advice on their creatures.  During some of the challenges other well known artist may also visit the contestants to give some input and advice.

best-face-off-makeup-masks-2On the last day of the challenge, the contestant’s creatures will be revealed – one by one – to the series judges – Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill and Neville Page. Sometimes a guest judge will join the judges – they include actors, creature designers, producers and other well known celebrities.

Once all the creatures are on stage the judges will go to each creation to have a closer look. They particularly pay attention to application of the make –up, painting of the creature, wardrobe and whether the creature designs meets the criteria of the challenge.

faceoff_lg-1024x682The judges then decide who is safe and who has the top and bottom looks.  The contestants that are safe can leave the stage with their creatures. The judges now speak to each of the contestants who have the top and bottom looks. The contestants have to explain their concept, colour choices etc. This is a grueling time for the contestants as the judges say in no uncertain terms what they think of their make-ups. The contestants  are then send back to the make-up room whilst the judges deliberate who is the winner of the challenge and who will be send home.

Face Off - Season 7Once the judges have made their final decisions the contestants are called back to the stage and Glenn will announce the top looks as well as the winner of the challenge. The 3 contestants who’s creations are at the bottom are called to the front and Glenn will tell them as to why their creations are at the bottom and one contestant are send home.

This process will continue until there are only 3 contestants left to battle it out as champion. For the last challenge the contestants will be required to create 2 or 3 creatures, in 3 days. They do however have help to achieve this huge task. They each can choose 2 of the previous eliminated contestants to assist them in the final challenge. The final challenge is normally involves a huge event, which spans from Ballet to Sword Fighting.


The Series Judges:

judgesGlenn Hetrick:

He is the CEO of Optic Nerve Studios and is known for his work on Buffy the Vampire Slyer, Angel, Pitch Black – Chronicles of Riddick and The Hunger Games – Catching Fire. He was also responsible for hundreds of forensically accurate make-ups and corpses on CSI: NY, the head and body replicas of Hugh Jackman in Prestige, to just name a few. He also is a custom designer for Lady Gaga.

Ve Neill:

Well known for the excellent make-up done in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Hunger Games – Catching Fire and Mockinjay, and Thor and The Host. She has won 3 Academy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards, to name just a few.

Neville Page:

He is known for his work on Promethues, Avatar, The Amazing Spider Man, Green Lantern, TRON Legacy, X-Men 2 and 3, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Most of his work is Sci-Fi based. He is currently developing his own line of educational art products. He also teaches art from time to time.

The Series Host:

McKenzie Westmore:

images (3)The Series is hosted by McKenzie Westmore, who brings a rich history and passion to the show, as her Great-Grandfather – George Westmore – has set the bar for film and television make-up back in 1917. McKenzie started acting at the age of 3 when she played Robert de Niro’s daughter in Raging Bull. She played Sheridan Crane Lopez-Fitzgerald on the television soap opera Passions from 1999 to 2008. Her father is the well known Michael Westmore, who is also the series mentor.

The Series Mentor:

Michael Westmore:

images (4)The highly acclaimed Michael Westmore is the mentor for the contestants on the show. The contestants could not have asked for someone with more experience and knowledge then Michael Westmore. During his rich career in the industry he received 42 Emmy nominations and has won 9 statuettes. Westmore won an Academy Award for Makeup for the 1985 Cher film Mask, and has been nominated three other times, for 2010 (1984), The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) and Star Trek: First Contact (1996).He has been involved in the make-up and supervision for the Star Trek franchise for the past 18 years. The Westmore family received a STAR at the Hollywood Boulevard’s famous Walk of Fame in 2008.

The series also have an array of well known artists, actors and other celebrities who act as guest judges on the show.

brian-grazer-imageBrian Grazer – his work include Parenthood, Backdraft, Appollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, 8 Mile, Frost/Nixon, Boomerang, The Nutty Professor, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons – just to name a few. He was nominated for 43 Academy Awards and 131 Emmy Awards.

images (5)Greg Cannom – his work include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Big Momma’s House 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Van Helsing, Pirates of the Carribean, A Beautiful Mind – to name a few. He has been nominated for 9 Academy Awards and has won 3.

images (6)Tom Savini – he is known for his award winning make-up on films such as: Martin, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Friday the 13th, The Burning and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. He is also known as a director – Night of the Living Dead. As an actor and stuntman he appeared in several films, such as Dawn of the Dead, From Dusk till Dawn and Planet Terror.

images (7)John Rhys-Davies – he is best known for playing the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. He has been the voice of several Disney characters, such as Cassim – Aladdin and the King of Thieves and Man Ray in SpongeBop SquarePants.

jordu-schell1Jordu Schell – he is a sculptor and concept artist who have been working in the film and television industries for over 20 years. His work include: Predator 2, The X-Files, Patch Adams, Hulk, Hellboy, Blade: Trinity, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Avatar, 300 and Dragonball Evolution.

Sean_S._CunninghamSean S Cunningham – he is a film director, producer and writer. The films of which he was the producer includes: The Last House on the Left, Friday the 13th, Freddy vs. Jason, The New Kids. The films of which he was director includes: Friday the 13th, Case of the Full Moon Murders, Trapped Ashes.

Patrick-TatopoulosPatrick Tatopoulos – he is a production designer for various films, which include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Stargate, Se7en,Independance Day, Godzilla, Stuart Little, Pitch Black, Underworld, Van Helsing, Alien vs. Predator, Eragon, Resident Evil: Extinction, 10 000 BC, Total Recall, 300: Rise of an Empire, Batman vs. Superman. He made his directorial debut with the 2009 film, Underworld; Rise of the Lycans.

images (8)Josh Hutcherson – he play the leading role of Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games film series, which consist of 4 films: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay part 1 and Mockingjay part 2.

This show is a definite MUST watch for all geek-, sci fi, fantasy and make-up effects lovers!

Original channel Syfy
Original run January 26, 2011 – present


Previous articleNerdipop, Patreon and Adsense
Next articleNightmare on Elm Street (1984)